EU: Vaccination timing 'was really bad' says Hungary's FM
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The European Union has seen its row with Hungary reignited this week as Viktor Orban’s government unveiled a new anti-LGBTQ+ law banning schools from using material seen to be promoting homosexuality. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged Orban to either reconsider the policy or his country’s membership of the bloc. But Portuguese reporter Ana Navarro Pedro insisted Hungary is not the only member state exploiting “contradictions” in the bloc’s rules to push ahead controversial domestic legislation.
Speaking to France 24, Ms Navarro Pedro said: “There are some other members of the European Union under investigation every so often.
“But it doesn’t apply only to Hungary within the European Union. The problem is the contradiction of the European Union.
“In this country, France, there have been laws that have been restricting the freedom of the press as well.
“If you investigate a company now, you risk very heavily if you use some information.”
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She added: “It’s not the same thing but what I mean is, there are contradictions in the European Union, in many fields, and they will pop out very fast.”
France’s President Emmanuel Macron faced backlash last year after putting forward proposal for a new law that would have banned members of the press from sharing pictures and images of police members.
Journalists across the country decried the proposed legislation, warning they would be prevented from covering protests and demonstration over concerns of being arrested for filming clashes with the police.
Several leaders attending the latest EU Summit in Brussels spoke of the most intense personal clash among the bloc’s leaders in years on Thursday night.
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Mark Rutte told the press: “It was really forceful, a deep feeling that this could not be. It was about our values; this is what we stand for.
“I said ‘Stop this, you must withdraw the law and, if you don’t like that and really say that the European values are not your values, then you must think about whether to remain in the European Union’.”
Unless it rows back, Hungary faces a legal challenge at the EU’s highest court. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said Orban should also be subject to an as-yet untested procedure to cut EU funding for those who violate rules.
The new mechanism was introduced as closely aligned conservative governments in Poland and Hungary have shielded one another for years from sanctions under existing measures to protect EU democratic and human rights values.
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The provisions for schools have been included in a law primarily aimed at protecting children from paedophiles, a link that Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo described as “primitive”.
Orban, who has been Hungary’s prime minister since 2010 and faces an election next year, has become more conservative and combative in promoting what he says are traditional Catholic values under pressure from the liberal West.
Describing himself as a “freedom fighter”, Orban told reporters before the meeting that the law was not an attack on gay people but aimed at guaranteeing parents’ right to decide on their children’s sexual education.
The EU is pushing Orban to repeal the law – the latest in a string of restrictive policies towards media, judges, academics and migrants.
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